The state and future of animation

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by EricJ » June 19th, 2022, 4:05 pm

It's not just attention span, think Farerb nailed it with a generation of "THIS is what can happen to you if you thought Shrek was funny..." that created the lazy, cynical mentality of 00's CGI comedies that thought everything came out of a computer and was ready to market.

As adults, we'd spent most of the 60s, 70s and 80s using Ron Miller-era Disney's monopoly on G-rated entertainment as a straw-man symbol of "the Establishment", with a big outdated fascist corporate mouse trying to foist the commercial opiate of the masses on us, when anyone who was anyone was aware of the Big Gritty Problems of the Nixon/Ford era.
And then...Black Cauldron happened. And we said "TOLD ya."
And then...Little Mermaid happened. And then the 90s Ren--oops, no, wait, not yet, we thought it was cute, but blamed that on our little 7-yo. daughter wanting a mermaid dress for her birthday.

And then Aladdin and Lion King happened, and then Pocahontas and Hunchback, and then it was all over. And apart from a little over demonstrated Lion King worship, we never really FULLY had time to come to grips with our own adult love of animation until Pixar came along and took all the credit.
Which is why it was such a big deal that critics trumpeted "Humor adults can enjoy along with their kids!" as the big gimmick of Shrek's stale sitcom success...
Which, in Jeffrey Katzenberg's mind, meant "Adults want jokes? Quick, we need Seinfeld!"

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by Ben » June 19th, 2022, 4:18 pm

I’ve had an adult love of animation since I was five…

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by EricJ » June 19th, 2022, 4:43 pm

Ben wrote:
June 19th, 2022, 4:09 am
Now, I’m off to watch my comedy cartoon triple bill of The Plague Dogs, Grave Of The Fireflies and When The Wind Blows to have a bit of a laugh and take my mind off the world's current problems.
Yeah, I remember '75-'85, when we were hoping some new Animation Messiah would come along and "Remind Disney how to do it", unquote.
Ralph Bakshi's R.-Crumb material was starting to wear out its welcome, and Richard Williams had just taken a big well-promoted bath on "Raggedy Ann & Andy"--And those were the most visible of the Disney Or Weirdo days when Disney had so much of the near-monopoly on studio feature animation, you were practically grateful for Hanna-Barbera's "Charlotte's Web" not being some artsy experimental adult "deconstructionist" piece like "Wizards" or "Heavy Metal".

When we got Watership Down and the "serious" fantasy-geek Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings in the same month of '78, it was one year after Disney's horribly outdated "The Rescuers" in '77, and we were hoping the DoW days had finally matured and solidified into a new era of classic books that could only be faithfully adapted into animation, not live-action.
And then, like wishing on a monkey's paw, The Plague Dogs and When the Wind Blows came along and ruined the whole thing. :(

(And would you believe, even knowing what we know about Don Bluth today, there are STILL people who can comfortably watch "The Secret of NIMH"--never mind "Land Before Time" :shock: --because they still remember hoping that Bluth would "take over" or "replace" the pre-Renaissance 1982 Disney after "The Fox & the Hound" seemed like all they could do anymore?)

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by Dacey » June 19th, 2022, 6:02 pm

Of course people still watch NIMH.

It’s a great movie.
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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by Ben » June 20th, 2022, 5:19 am

Well the animation at those times was only reflecting the down and dirty period of the 70s, which wasn’t great for anyone in particular. Things were more optimistic at the end of the decade, when Star Wars, Superman and Grease restored fun, faith and hope, but then we had the resurgence of uneasy Cold War times up to around 1984, before Gorbachev fixed things (for a while, anyway).

I don’t think Disney had a stronghold during this time either: they released just three or four fully animated films in a ten year period, but The Rescuers had been a *massive* hit. Animation came from all quarters — it was actually a great time to be an animation fan — including the compilation features from Warners, Hanna-Barbera's continued attempts to rival Disney on big screens with Heidi's Song, which everyone forgets, and various international imports from the likes of Europe and — as is also usually forgotten — the startings of Studio Ghibli.

I’m still waiting for someone to remember The Care Bears Movie and do a Blu. This is the film that wiped the floor with The Black Cauldron and is actually, for a television cartoon spin-off of a merchandising phenomenon (again, of which there were many in the early-mid 80s), really nicely done. Lest we forget, it led to a trilogy of theatrical sequels, none of which were as good, though not embarrassing, but that first one worked pretty well.

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by Dacey » June 20th, 2022, 1:43 pm

That talking demonic book tho...

:shock:

As a kid I would leave the room once she was introduced and not watch the rest of the film. That was one of the reasons I preferred Care Bears Movie II when I was little (which confusingly retcons the first movie, but anyway).

Care Bears Adventures in Wonderland is sadly stuck in some copyright limbo, so it's never gotten a disc release.
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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by Ben » June 20th, 2022, 7:14 pm

"Just call me Stan!” still makes us laugh, tho. :)

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by EricJ » June 21st, 2022, 12:00 am

Ben wrote:
June 20th, 2022, 5:19 am
Hanna-Barbera's continued attempts to rival Disney on big screens with Heidi's Song, which everyone forgets,
And even then, Heidi's Song had been directed by the director of "The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat" (no, the sequel, not the Bakshi original), which sort of demonstrates the state of the non-Disney industry at the time.

It was also pretty bad, even by the standards of those who liked Charlotte's Web.

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by Ben » June 21st, 2022, 4:35 am

Yes, Nine Lives is the sequel, which I got because you typed The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat, and not just Fritz The Cat. ;)

It always amuses me that Don Ernst was involved in a bunch of Bakshi pictures and then ended up at Disney, producing Fantasia 2000 amongst other things…it all works both ways in that industry, y’know!

I think I prefer Heidi to Charlotte. Less screechy, better made and, dare I say it, but the songs are slightly more memorable than the less than stellar Shermans' work they largely did post-Disney, when they didn’t have a certain person shepherding things along. Chitty and Bedknobs were still written in that Walt glow, but once they were stuck with less inspired collaborators and projects to get their own inspiration from, the songs become more rote, slower and maybe more indulgent, also not helped by the lesser budgeted recording technology that didn’t have the dynamic range equipment or even the orchestrations they’d enjoyed with the likes of Irwin Kostal at Disney.

In regards to Heidi, we also had the soundtrack tape (still do!) for years before we were able to actually *see* the notoriously hard to get hold of film, so we’re more familiar with them than the Charlotte ones, which we only heard when we ran the film, which was usually my sister's choice as I wasn’t much of a fan even back then. I did like the remake, though, which had that same feel as the new Dumbo and felt like a throwback to a simpler, nicer kind of storytelling even though it was a modern movie (and, ironically, with another lush Elfman score).

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by EricJ » June 21st, 2022, 3:43 pm

Ben wrote:
June 21st, 2022, 4:35 am
I think I prefer Heidi to Charlotte. Less screechy, better made and, dare I say it, but the songs are slightly more memorable than the less than stellar Shermans' work they largely did post-Disney, when they didn’t have a certain person shepherding things along.
...That Sammy Davis Jr. rat, though. :shock:

(Which I single out not because the scene sticks out from the Hanna-Barbera classic-story schmaltz, but because it's such a clear encapsulation of the decade when the director thought it NEEDED a surreal adult number in it.
The rest of the movie just wasn't Bakshi enough for the director.)

Yes, we know, you don't like Charlotte, but dream-team cast and Poppins/Chitty's Irwin Kostal managing the Sherman songs ace-card any other complaints.

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by GeffreyDrogon » July 1st, 2022, 4:29 pm

With direct-to-video sequels, why don't the cast members of the original theatrical animated features reprise their roles? Even many of the ones by Disney are like that, with the exception of The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, which seems like an exception to the rule.

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by Dacey » July 1st, 2022, 4:47 pm

Budget.

But Disney, for the most part, was usually able to snag up the original casts for their sequels.
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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by GeffreyDrogon » July 3rd, 2022, 3:30 pm

Then why do a few original direct-to-video animated films have star-studded casts, like those cheap CGI ones you can easily find on free streaming services?

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by EricJ » July 3rd, 2022, 6:25 pm

Because they're foreign (you can usually tell the Chinese ones from the Euro ones), and with the animation already done, you can hire a few available B-tier 00's actors and sitcom actors for a couple days in-house mike-dub work, and promote the "star-studded cast" to make it look like a US-produced one.

Basically, as Dacey says, budget.

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Re: The state and future of animation

Post by GeffreyDrogon » July 3rd, 2022, 8:04 pm

It's pretty funny how many washed-up celebrities wind up lending their voices to lackluster animated films: Mel Brooks, the late Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover, William H. Macy, Christopher Lloyd, Cary Elwes, Nicholas Cage, and Rob Schneider.

Then there are actors from successful films who had the potential for growth into other films who got stuck doing those kinds of voice acting roles, like Sean Astin and Justin Long, though Long unfortunately seemed to have gotten stuck in the "nerdy teenager/young adult fellow who likes girls and gets jealous when another guy is in love with her", like in that CGI Wolf Movie That Must Not Be Named. Looks like Long didn't have the same luck as Chris Pratt.

For Sean Astin, it's funny how he slums it out in cheap animated films and low-budget family fare despite the success of theLord of the Rings films, though he is in Stranger Things as a major character.

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